The colourful rows of tulip flowers in Lisse are iconic. Located in Holland in the Netherlands, the famous tulip farms and Keukenhof Gardens take centre stage in the spring flower bloom. Seeing the tulips in Lisse and Keukenhof is a bucket list trip for many people.
Read on to plan your trip to see the tulips in Lisse!
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Need to start planning your trip to Lisse, Keukenhof and the tulip fields ASAP?
Below are some of the top rated tours, hotels and recommendations for visiting Lisse. Make sure to book ahead of time to ensure availability!
Top Experiences and Tours in Lisse:
1) Keukenhof tickets and transfers from Amsterdam (the best option if you’re coming from Amsterdam) 2) Skipp the line Keukenhof entry tickets (perfect if you’re making your own way to Keukenhof and want to skip the queue!)
3) Cycling tour around the tulip fields in Lisse (this was my favourite way to see the tulip fields outside Keukenhof!)
Top Hotels and Accommodation near to Keukenhof:
1) Boutique Suites Lisse - Schipol (Perfect location for Keukenhof and the airport)
2) Hotel Restaurant de Engel (Another great location, top reviewed and beautiful boutique hotel) 3) Courtyard by Marriott (perfect if you want to be close to the airport and just go in and out to Keukenhof)
4) The Hoxton Amsterdam (my favourite place to stay in Amsterdam)
Seeing the tulip fields in Lisse on a budget
Like so many people, I have always wanted to visit this area of the Netherlands and see the tulip fields for myself. My issue has always been how expensive the flights to the Netherlands are during tulip season as airlines capitalise on the surge in tourists coming to visit the fields and the world-famous Keukenhof.
But last year, my friend Charlotte and I were determined to see the fields and to do so on a budget, and yep, you guessed it - without taking any time off work either.
Below I’ve outlined essential information about Lisse, how we planned when to go (the flowers bloom at slightly different times every year) and the most useful tool to work out when flowers will be at their peak.
There are also three main things we did to save money and keep this trip on a budget - find out what they were below.
Click here for detailed information on how to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam airport.
Where is Lisse?
Lisse is a town in the Netherlands, southwest of Amsterdam and Amsterdam Schipol Airport. Lisse is most famous as the home of Keukenhof Gardens where millions of flowers are cultivated each year.
The surrounding farmland of Lisse is also a tulip growing region due to it’s ideal location near the sea and with sand-like soil. The fields are all owned by local farmers whose main product are the tulip bulbs, both in the Netherlands and exported abroad.
On this note, please remember that these fields are the farmers’ livelihoods, please be respectful and do not walk in the fields between the tulip rows or pick the flowers. The farmers graciously allow visitors to walk around the edges of their fields but if you walk into the flowers you will damage their crop and their livelihood, as well as ruin it for all those who are respectful - farmers are starting to close off their fields so there is no access at all. If you would like to go into the fields, please support local businesses like Fam Flower Farm who allow access and photoshoots in their fields for a small fee.
When is the best time to see the tulips in Lisse?
The Keukenhof website is a useful resource but the advice is very general and suggests that the tulips bloom between March-May each year - this is when Keukenhof Gardens are open. However Keukenhof Gardens are a tourist attraction, whereas the fields around the Lisse area are working farm fields and the tulip bulbs are the livelihood for most farmers in the area, therefore they will cut the fields when they need to for their business - not at the whim of tourists and visitors!
This means checking the flower forecast for updates is the best way to ascertain when the fields will be in peak bloom. We used Flower Radar which is updated daily by locals with the status of the flowers in fields in the area, including pictures. This tool was so useful and also helped us pick which bike route to choose on the day.
We ultimately ended up visiting on 19th April which is quite late in the season usually but the colder spring weather had meant the flowers bloomed later. As mentioned previously, use the forecast tools available to check flower blooms.
How to visit Lisse tulip fields on a budget
There are three main ways we saved money on this trip and it meant we were able to have our dream of seeing the tulips and do it all for only £149 per person - this includes transport and accommodation.
1. Take the bus
If you’ve been around my blog before you’ll know I’m a fan of using coach journeys to cut down on costs, particularly overnight coaches to cut down on accommodation costs too.
We took Flixbus from London Victoria to Amsterdam Schipol Airport overnight, meaning we left London at 8pm and arrived the following day at 10am (we also had a 3am stopover in Antwerp - check this before you book if you don’t want a stopover!) The buses to Amsterdam and Amsterdam Airport run several times a day from London and since Flixbus operates across Europe, you can undoubtedly find routes from other European cities too depending on your location.
When we originally looked, this journey was only £75 return! That was about a month before. We unfortunately left it a little late due to figuring out the peak tulip bloom and ended up getting our return coach ticket for £105 return - still much cheaper than any flights and also includes our accommodation costs since both nights of our trip would be spent on the coach!
This did mean we only had 1 full day to explore Lisse and grab dinner in Amsterdam, so if you prefer to travel slower this option may not be for you. But for those with a limited budget and limited annual leave from work - this is the perfect cost-cutting option.
2. Hire a bike
Some people will travel half way around the world to see Keukenhof Gardens, after all they are known as the Garden of Europe and with 7 million bulbs planted each year, it’s not hard to see why! However, entry tickets to Keukenhof are 20 euros or 42.50 euros including the Keukenhof bus from the airport to the entrance. We ultimately decided not to buy these tickets as we didn’t fancy the huge queue to get in during the peak of the season or the crowds when we were inside.
We wanted to explore the fields in the surrounding area of Keukenhof, and we wanted to do that at our own pace so we could explore and take photos without the crowds. So instead, we hired a bike for 11 euros from the bike rental place outside the Keukenhof entrance and I really recommend this option.
This gave us the bike for 3 hours and there are 4 suggested bike routes which you can find here. We did the purple route as we’d checked the flower radar where the blooms were best that weekend, however with the amount of photo stops we did, it took us 3 hours instead of the suggested 1-2 hours!
Also worth mentioning even if you’re not confident on a bike, you will be fine here, there are designated bike lanes or paths on most roads and where there isn’t, these country roads are small and don’t get busy with vehicle traffic. Plus locals are used to lots of bikes in this area and are very courteous in giving bikes a wide berth on the road.
3. Take your own food
This budget advice is something I follow on any trip and it’s one of my biggest cost-cutting practices. Food is not cheap in Lisse or Amsterdam - particularly in touristic areas like around Keukenhof. We took snacks and pack-up lunches on the bus from London which lasted us the whole trip. We treated ourselves to a pub-grub meal in Amsterdam before our coach journey back - 20 euros for a meal and a pint with views over one of the canals - it would be rude not to!
Total cost breakdown
Return bus tickets from London to Amsterdam = £105
Bike hire = £9
Bus and Train fares to/from Keukenhof = £15
Meal in Amsterdam = £20
Total = £149
Getting to and from Keukenhof
How to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam Schipol Airport
Getting to Keukenhof is the best way to explore the surrounding area of Lisse, and getting there from the airport is the easiest way since there is a direct bus from airport arrivals to Keukenhof Gardens car park.
You might also like my detailed guide on How to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam Schipol Airport including prices, transit times, bus timetables and more.
In the Arrivals area at the airport , head to the far end where you see the large Starbucks and exit the doors next to Starbucks. Right in front of you is the bus park and you’ll see the queue and Keukenhof staff directing you to the Keukenhof Express - bus number 858. You can buy the Keukenhof combiticket from here which includes the bus ticket and entry to the gardens. If you are not planning to go into the gardens (like us) you can still take this bus and just pay for the bus ticket on its own.
The 858 also goes directly back to the airport from the car park outside Keukenhof.
How to get to Keukenhof from Amsterdam City
Keukenhof is a great day trip from Amsterdam, although bizarrely there is no direct link to Keukenhof, to or from Amsterdam Centraal. Most websites will recommend taking the Airport Express train to the airport then catching the Keukenhof Express. You can also do this in reverse to get from Keukenhof to Amsterdam.
Or alternatively, this is how we got from Keukenhof to Amsterdam Centraal station:
Take bus 859 from Keukenhof to Hoofddorp station (you can use your Keukenhof bus ticket on the 859 too).
At Hoofddorp station take the Sprinter train 4 stops to Amsterdam Centraal.
at Hoofddorp if you already have one of the Amsterdam train passes then you can use this
if you want a single ticket, there is no signage and the station has no information which is very unhelpful (we asked at the food kiosk). You need to use the yellow top up card ticket machines but ONLY THE MIDDLE ONE dispenses single paper tickets - so use this one.
You do need a ticket, your ticket will be checked on the train and you can be fined 60 euros for travelling without a ticket.
Alternatively you can buy a single train ticket here.
We found the transport system very difficult to navigate with limited signage or information points. This website helps explain more about the ticketing system and how to buy.
I hope this guide helps you plan your budget trip to Lisse and to the see the tulips, whether for a short trip or a longer one! Let me know if you end up using any of the tips!
Have you been to see the tulips in Lisse?